Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

The Six-Gun Tarot


Author: R. S. Belcher
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £6.99, US $9.95
ISBN: 978 1 78116 921 6
Publication Date: 06 September 2013

Jim barely makes it alive across the 40 mile desert to the town of Golgotha, a place once prosperous because of the silver mine, now making a living off the passing trade. He finds a town hiding secrets which stretch back to the beginnings of time.

The Six-gun Tarot is the debut novel by R. S. Belcher, a cross genre that mixes the fantastical with a western. It’s also a difficult book to review without giving out massive spoilers.

I was not looking forward to reading this book, as I am not at all a fan of western novels. It starts as you would expect with Jim slowly dying trying to cross the desert. He is rescued; otherwise this would have been a short story, and finds himself in the town of Golgotha, a mixture of Mormons, Chinese and whites. So far, so horrible.

But then we move away from Jim, following an odd event at a local store, and start to explore the other residents. Against the background of a typical nineteenth century dustbowl town we discover a woman who is the descendent of Lilith and far more powerful than her husband realises. Jim meets an Indian deputy who isn’t as human as he appears to be, who works for a sheriff who has a reputation as a dead man walking. Against this background, we also get an apocalyptic tale involving the creation of the universe and the one creature that even God couldn’t kill.

As the novel progresses, Belcher creates a richly rewarding read, with only one issue. I don’t know when the book was originally written , but the celestial themes, not the actual story and the depiction of the politics and powers of heaven have already been depicted in a similar manner in the Sandman Slim novels. Of course, it does mean that if you enjoyed that series your likely to enjoy this novel.

Dense in plot and characterisation it is surprising that this is a first novel, Belcher writes with the skill of a more blooded novelist ad once it gets going becomes a compelling read, with strong world building skills. Belcher takes his time getting to the climax, exploring the back story of each of his characters, so that when the climax arrives you have a real investment in them.

Similarities with other books aside, this is a strong first outing for a new novelist.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.